The philosopher and the fox

Good things come to those who wait.

Gray’s Inn Gardens is a beautiful open space that was created by Francis Bacon in 1597. Every weekday the gardens are open to the public during lunch time (noon to 2.30pm). It is only when all the people return to their work, that the gardens truly come to life with squirrels, birds, and a fox family. So I wait!

One hour later…in want for something to do, I’ve started counting:
Squirrels 5
Crows 2
Magpies 12
Wood pigeons 7
Feral pigeons 19.5 (one half-eaten dead one)
Sea gulls 1
Foxes 0

One hour later…I’m really bored. And cold to the bone. I’ve considered doing some jumping jacks, but the knowledge that I am in full view of all the barristers and judges in their offices holds me back. I’ve already eaten all my supplies, including the food I had brought for the foxes. I’ve seen their dens earlier this week. I know that the foxes are here. But I also know that they might smell that I am here, and probably hear me too, and decide that it’s best to stay indoors. I guess I just have to wait. I decide to stay one more hour, at least till dusk. I remembered the story by Stefano Unterthiner, who has also shot some gorgeous photographs of foxes by the way, of how he waited eighty nights for a bear in a Finnish hide. EIGHTY!

Half an hour later…the foxes aren’t going to come out. I decide to go for a walk. Then I spot the fox. A bit further south then where I was expecting him. He’s lying under a bush, spying on two oblivious magpies.

I tiptoe over the path. Then I run to the nearest tree, to hide behind it. Then he spots me.

I lie face down on the grass and crawl closer. He doesn’t move. I crawl some more, but then he gets up.

I make sure that I sit as still as I can, on my knees, and I keep my chin down to show him that I am not a dominant hunter. No idea if he understands this gesture. But when I look up, he has his chin down too.

I look up a bit more. Funnily enough, he does the same.

I decide to crawl a little closer. Then I sit up again. We just sit and look at each other for a while. Me and a wild fox, sitting opposite each other – having a silent conversation. It’s such a magical experience!

I decide to give it one more go, but when I start crawling again, he disappears between the bushes.